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2012-11-22 10:20

ARRESTED FOR PROTEST PLANNING?: Fearing that the above would happen, Chinese authorities arrested Zhu Fu 4321 for planning a protest regarding the country's licence fee hikes.

BEIJING, China - Police in China have arrested a car owner for attempting to organise a campaign against rising vehicle licence fees. Shades of SA's toll roads?

The owner, identified by the online name Zhu Fu 4321, hoped for 100 cars to join a convoy in Guangdong province after the city proposed an annual fee equivalent to R580 for vehicles with up to nine seats.

The driver printed bumper stickers depicting a clenched fist and reading: "To hell with the annual fee" and "Say No to corruption!" China's Global Times reported that the protester was detained by the authorities.

'NO PARADE OR GATHERING'

No protest took place and the detention has raised concerns among lawyers, who state that the protester's arrest was not legal. Social media commenters have raised fears over curbs on civil liberties in one of South Africa's major trading partners.

Xie Jiajun, a lawyer in Guangdong, said: "The car owner shouldn't be detained as there was no parade or gathering."

Police in Yangjiang refused to comment when contacted by AFP. The car licence fee has yet to be approved or implemented.

The Nanfang Rural News identified the car owner as Zhu Fu 4321 and said the detention was for "inciting and planning illegal gatherings, protests marches and demonstrations and refusing to listen to warnings".

It added that Zhu Fu 4321's protest call came in October 2012 when police nationwide were told to quash all unrest ahead of the Communist Party congress in November 2012 which saw the start of a once-in-a-decade leadership handover.

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